GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Arkansas soccer team played one of its best games of the season on Friday night, but a double overtime goal by the University of Florida’s Ashley Harris gave the Lady Razorbacks a heart wrenching defeat in Gainesville, Fla., 1-0.
The loss drops the Lady Razorbacks to 10-5-1 on the season and 3-4-1 in SEC play while Florida improves to 11-4-2 overall and 7-1-1 in conference action.
“Obviously I am disappointed with the loss,” Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson said. “I thought that we played well and it took an amazing shot to beat us. I think that if you give her that shot 100 times, she doesn’t make that shot most of the time. I am very proud of our girls.”
The Lady Razorbacks dodged a bullet early in the contest when a Florida attack down the right side led to a strong shot from the penalty stripe. Beaten by the shot Dillsaver turned in time to watch junior Sarah Gwisdala elevate and head the ball wide of the goal to save the shot.
Following the golden Gator chance, Arkansas would then play Florida relatively even for most of the period. The Gators would dominate possession and have more chances, but none were of the quality of their first.
The Lady Razorbacks would counter on several occasions and get their best chance midway through the first when a long through ball down the center of the field was run on by senior Christina Burger. Arkansas’ leading scorer raced with a Florida defender into the penalty area before uncorking a shot that rolled just wide of the far post eliciting a giant sigh of relief from the Gator nation.
As the game wore on, it became more and more apparent that the Gators would use their defense to move the ball up the field and attempt to split the Lady Razorback defense and create a shot or cross. The play of the Lady’Backs to counter the Florida efforts was massive as Devon Burger, Allison Harris, Gwisdala and Rachel Smith stymied opportunity after opportunity.
At the end of regulation, both teams appeared worn out after 90 minutes in stifling humidity, but the two squads came out for the first overtime period with a spring in their steps, creating chances on either end. Arkansas’ best look at goal in the first bit of extra time came on a free kick from 40 yards where Abbey Wilburn sent a shot just over the crossbar for a goal kick.
In the second overtime, Arkansas’ luck ran out as a Florida player went down hard in the penalty area after a Gator attack was thwarted by the Lady Razorback defense. With the injured player on the turf, the referee called for a stoppage of play and on the next restart, the Gators moved the ball down the right side allowing Harris to take a 19-yard shot from just outside the penalty area for pay dirt and the Gator victory.
The Lady Razorbacks are back at home on Sunday afternoon for senior day at Lady’Back Field beginning at 1:00 p.m. against the South Carolina Gamecocks. For more information about Lady Razorback soccer or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to LADYBACKS.COM.